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The Mezquita, or Great Mosque of Cordoba, was considered by Muslims and Christians alike to be one of the wonders of the medieval world. It was the most magnificent of the hundreds of mosques in the city, and was at one time the second largest mosque in the Muslim world. Built on a Visigothic site, itself likely the site of an earlier Roman temple, construction of the mosque was begun between 784 and 786 during the reign of 'Abd al-Rahman I of the Umayyad dynasty. It is most notable for its double arcades of piers and arches with alternating red and white voussoirs, an unusual treatment that is both visually striking and structurally advantageous as it allows greater height within the hall.
Cordoba was captured in 1236 by King Ferdinand III of Castile and the mosque converted into a Christian church. Subsequent rulers made further modifications to the structure through the 18th century.